The science behind dog training and behaviour has made vast leaps over the years. We’re seeing a huge shift away from the old, outdated methods that were based on dominance theories and corrections, towards humane and positive methods of training. I have worked with a number of dogs whose behaviour problems were worsened by harsh trainers using punishment-based techniques and an incorrect understanding of body language and behaviour. It is very rewarding to work with these cases and help owners and their dogs blossom into a new happy relationship using evidence based, ethical behaviour modification and training.
Dogs are a domesticated species; their behaviour is very different to wild canines. Using wolf behaviour as a model for our pet dogs isn’t doing our them any favours! Understanding the natural behavioural needs and motivations of dogs is key in accurately diagnosing the root cause of any behaviour problem, the majority of which are caused by stress or fear.
We all want to do the best for our dogs, but every dog is an individual and what works for one may not work for another. You might be an incredibly experienced dog owner, but one day find yourself with a tricky problem that you don’t know how to manage. Sometimes it’s difficult to identify that there is a problem and for some owners, admitting there is a problem is the first hurdle, especially if it’s something like aggression.
Whatever situation you find yourself in with your dog I’m here to help; no matter how complex or extreme. I’m passionate in advocating evidence-based training methods and have an in-depth knowledge of canine behavioural science to ensure you all progress and succeed with your dogs.
Not all behavioural issues are straightforward to resolve, some have complex origins and take time with a detailed history taking and assessment to understand. Behavioural consultations are necessary for serious behaviours which require a more specialist approach. I’ll need to gather a lot of information about your dog and the context of the behaviour. Quite often, in severe cases pain or a medical issue is the root cause of a problem. I may want to work closely with your vet to help create the best programme for your dog. If your dog’s behaviour is worrying you or becoming dangerous and you are unsure how to go forward, don’t hesitate to contact me and we can discuss the problem.
What happens in a consultation?
During a phone call or an email conversation I will ask you some basic information about your dog and the type of problem or problems you are having. We’ll then arrange a time and day for me to come to your home, meet your dog and assess its behaviour. I’ll take a full case history and will need as much information about your dog as possible, including any veterinary information. I’ll be able to identify reasons for the problem and how we can work together to repair what’s gone wrong. During the consultation I will show you things to get started with, sometimes this involves making some changes in your home and routine with your dog.
After the consultation I will send you a personalised behavioural report and a training plan for you to put in place. We can then arrange and book in any future training sessions which will help you and your dog progress. You will receive ongoing support and advice from me throughout our time together.
Common problems addressed in a consultation: aggression, separation anxiety, car chasing, extreme reactivity, barking and chasing other animals or wildlife.
Pre-Puppy Purchase / Rehoming advice and home set up
These sessions are for new owners getting their first puppy, or owners who want to learn a bit more about providing their new dog with everything it will need. Many behavioural problems I deal with are ones that could have been avoided early on in the dog’s life. Getting the right set up to begin with will create a happy individual that you can have a wonderful relationship with and reduces the potential for problem behaviours to occur in the future.
The transition from living with mum and siblings to living in your home is a stressful one for all puppies.
It is essential we make this as easy as possible for them to cope with and make their new home a comfortable, safe environment. This sets them up for a happy new life with you and starts building your relationship from a strong, positive base.
The right enrichment activities will create calmness and relaxation in your puppy. They’ll also allow them to express their natural behaviours which will reduce the likelihood of problem behaviours occurring in the future.
Ideally these sessions should be booked in once you’ve decided where you’re getting your puppy from and before you’ve made your first visit to your new puppy.
Things we will cover:
- Preparing your home for their arrival
- Learning the best practice for their first night
- Using the right toys
- Learning about enrichment activities to develop good cognitive skills
- Giving them the right amount and type of exercise
- Making your home an environment they can thrive in that prepares them for future training and learning
Dogs that have already had more than one home also need to adjust to a new family, environment and routine. They need to feel safe and secure in their new home and learn how to live alongside you. If they have had a bad past then it’s even more crucial they have the right start with you, this will help them relax and be mentally ready for any subsequent training that they might need. These sessions are particularly useful for rescue dogs that have had a traumatic past and may come with behavioural issues or struggle to adapt to home life. These can be split into two sessions and we will work together to ensure your dog is building in confidence and thriving in your home.
These sessions can be focused on anything you’d like to practice or improve on with your dog. They can also be new behaviours you’d like to learn and teach your dog. Book as many as you like! Any follow ups from a behaviour consultation will take the format of a training session where we will work on your personalised behaviour modification programme and ensure you and your dog are progressing well.
Training sessions can be on a 1 to 1 basis or involve a small group that are all on a similar level of training or experiencing the same issues. I like to make sure that you also learn how to follow any training programme or exercises that I set out. Some behaviours are trickier than others to work with, but if you have the patience, and put in the effort, you’ll see results! I understand this isn’t always possible and we can schedule a training session which just involves me working with your dog.
Popular training sessions include: recall, life skills, vet visits, travelling in the car, loose lead walking, reactivity in and outside the home, vet and groomer visits and training for calm behaviour around other dogs.
Discounts available for group sessions.
Sniffing, foraging, chewing and scavenging are all important natural behaviours for our pet dogs to be given the opportunity to do on a daily basis. Allowing them to fulfil their behavioural needs and motivations will help re-balance their brains and bodies by boosting the production of inhibitory neurotransmitters (Serotonin and GABA). These act to calm the brain, lower stress levels and encourage calmness and relaxation. This in turn prevents frustration and stress and helps set up the brain for new learning which aids in resolving behavioural problems. I often find that dogs with behavioural issues aren’t doing enough calm enrichment activities that are focused on sniffing and foraging.
Enrichment sessions will give your dog a thoroughly enjoyable experience by providing them with new objects they can investigate in their own time and have fun doing so.
- Tailored to suit your individual animal.
- Can be done for individuals or share the session with friends.
- I bring all the equipment and set up.
For calmness, relaxation and fun!
These enrichment sessions allow dogs to fulfil their natural behavioural motivation to use their noses and forage for something interesting and tasty. Providing new smells and objects to investigate is a highly rewarding experience for any dog.
Doing this with dog friendship groups is highly beneficial for them as it’s natural for dogs to do these activities in a group. Get a group together and book a session!
Ideal for dogs who:
- Suffer from stress or anxiety
- Are picky eaters
- Get overexcited quickly and need calming activities
- Cannot be walked due to behavioural issues or recovering from surgery
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